Irish Wolfhound Times
(Irish Wolfhound Database and Breed Information Exchange)

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USA Presidents Wolfhounds and Deerhounds
(Hoover, Kennedy, Roosevelt)

Irish Wolfhound Times - USA Presidents  Wolfhounds and Deerhounds


Mrs. Hoover's Irish Wolfhound Cragwood Padraic was presented to the first lady after she moved into the White House. The majestic animal is shown here with her breeder, Mrs Norwood Smith of Urbanna, Virginia, a former classmate of the First Lady. Ranamed Patrick by the Hoovers, the dog ws a great great grandson of Cragwood Darragh, the most famous Irish Wolfhound ever bred in the U.S.

Considered "the lord of dogs" by the American Kennel Gazette, the Irish Wolfhound dates back to the days of the Roman Empire. Ever since then, these aristocratic hounds - used extensively in wolf-ridden Ireland -- have been associated with emperors, kings and other members of royal families. These are the majestic animals that George Washington tried unsuccessfully to track down through a contact in Ireland

Patrick came to the White House as a gift from breeder Mrs Norwood Browing Smith, a schoolmate of the First Lady. Considering the size of the dog and his need for open fields of muscle stretching space, it's a wonder he could be kept confined on the grounds at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Even the feeding troughs for these mighty animals stand two feet off the ground so they don't have to stoop to eat. Because of hs size, strength, and swiftness, Mrs Smith thought the wolfhound would make an ideal guard dog for the President and his wife.

But even after Patrick's arrival, King Tut continued as the White House guard dog. He patrolled the fences at night, sniffing constantly for intruders, while stopping at all the checkpoints. The White House security chief claimed he considered Tut "a sergeant, not merely a sentry". But apparently the dog took his duties too seriously and suffered under the strain of these nightly patrols.

His master, on the other hand, underestimated the seriousness of the country's economic plight and the overment's need to respond. He hesitated to take the bold action of offering direct federal aid to cope with the hamer blows of the stock market crash and Great Depression. So in the end, both president and dog were unable to meet the changing demands of the White House. King Tut became morose, sulked and lost weight, forcing the President to send him away to recuperate. Instead the poor puzzled police dog pined away and died.

Hoover who had always fought to keep his personal life as well as his public policy negotiations screened from view, didn't release the news of King Tut's demise for several months. He told friends that he didn't want the country to grieve over a dog at a time when banks were failing, breadlines were forming, and unemployment was soaring. But the fact is this conservative Republican president was too private a person to build a close relationship with reporters -- or, for that matter, with Congress. As historian Elmer Cornwell wrote; "No future president could hope to emerge from his White House ordeal unless he was prepared in talent and temperament to cope with and master the demans of an age of mass communications."

Standing for reelection in 1932-- this time without King Tut in the picture -- incumbent Hoover carried only six states. Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who would soon prove to be a master communicator, a bold political innovator, and a lover of dogs as well -- won in a landslide.

Roy Rowan and Brooke Janis
First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Best Friends - 2009


An Irish wolfhound puppy, arrived by arrangement as did a Connemara donkey and an Irish deer. The Irish Wolfhound was named Wolf (also sometimes called "Wolfie"). The Wolfhound puppy was a gift from Father Thomas Kennedy, Dublin, Ireland
(Source JFK and his Irish heritage - Page 77 Arthur Mitchell - 1993)


Roosevelt was an avid hunter and writer on the topic. He had his own pack of hounds which included Scottish Deerhounds. Below is a snippet/references about Roosevelt and hounds-

(Source Roosevelt in the Bad Lands - Hermann Hagedorn - 1921 ) - Roosevelt's first call on Mrs. Wadsworth had its serio-comic aspects. The Wadsworths had a great wolf-hound whom Roosevelt himself described as "a most ill-favored hybrid, whose mother was a Newfoundland and whose father was a large wolf," and which looked, it seemed, more like a hyena than like either of its parents. The dog both barked and howled, but it had a disconcerting habit of doing neither when it was on business bent. The first intimation Roosevelt had of its existence one day, as he was knocking at the door of the Wadsworth cabin, was a rush that the animal made for his trousers. Pete Pellessier, a round-faced, genial cowpuncher from Texas, subsequently told about it. "It was one of those dogs that come sneaking around, never a growl or anything else — just grab a hunk of your leg to let you know they're around. That's the kind of a dog this was. Roosevelt just started to make a bow to Mrs. Wadsworth, 'way over, real nice. Well, that dog flew and grabbed him in the seat of the pants — he had on corduroy pants.

Get out of here, you son-of-a-gun!' he says; 'get out of here, I tell you!'

"Then he turns to Mrs. Wadsworth. 'I beg your pardon, Mrs. Wadsworth,' he says politely, 'that dog was grabbing me an' —'

"Just then the dog reached for another helping. 'Get out of here!' Roosevelt shouts to the dog, and then turns back, ' How do you do? ' he says to Mrs. Wadsworth. But the dog came back a third time, and that time Roosevelt gave that wolf-hound a kick that landed him about ten rods off. An' Roosevelt went on with his visiting."

(Source - The Works of Theodore Roosevelt: Hunting the grisly and other sketches Theodore Roosevelt - 1893) - General Miles informs me that he once had great fun in the Indian Territory hunting wolves with a pack of greyhounds. They had with the pack a large stub-tailed mongrel, of doubtful ancestry but most undoubted fighting capacity. When the wolf was started the greyhounds were sure to overtake it in a mile or two; they would then bring it to a halt and stand around it in a ring until the fighting dog came up. The latter promptly tumbled on the wolf, grabbing him anywhere, and often getting a terrific wound himself at the same time. As soon as he had seized the wolf and was rolling over with him in the grapple the other dogs joined in the fray and despatched the quarry without much danger to themselves.

During the last decade many ranchmen in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana have developed packs of greyhounds able to kill a wolf unassisted. Greyhounds trained for this purpose always seize by the throat; and the light dogs used for coursing jack-rabbits are not of much service, smooth or rough-haired greyhounds and deer-hounds standing over thirty inches at the shoulder and weighing over ninety pounds being the only ones that, together with speed, courage, and endurance, possess the requisite power.

One of the most famous packs in the West was that of the Sun River Hound Club, in Montana, started by the stockmen of Sun River to get rid of the curse of wolves which infested the neighborhood and worked very serious damage to the herds and flocks. The pack was composed of both greyhounds and deer-hounds, the best being from the kennels of ColonelWilliams and of Mr. Van Hummel, of Denver; they were handled by an old plainsman and veteran wolf-hunter named Porter. In the season of '86 the astonishing number of 146 wolves were killed with these dogs. Ordinarily, as soon as the dogs seized a wolf, and threw or held it, Porter rushed in and stabbed it with his hunting-knife; one day, when out with six hounds, he thus killed no less than twelve out of the fifteen wolves started, though one of the greyhounds was killed, and all the others were cut and exhausted. But often the wolves were killed without his aid. The first time the two biggest hounds—deer-hounds or wire-haired greyhounds—were tried, when they had been at the ranch only three days, they performed such a feat. A large wolf had killed and partially eaten a sheep in a corral close to the ranch house, and Porter started on the trail, and followed him at a jog-trot nearly ten miles before the hounds sighted him. Running but a few rods, he turned viciously to bay, and the two great greyhounds struck him like stones hurled from a catapult, throwing him as they fastened on his throat; they held him down and strangled him before he could rise, two other hounds getting up just in time to help at the end of the worry.

Ordinarily, however, no two greyhounds or deer-hounds are a match for a gray wolf, but I have known of several instances in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, in which three strong veterans have killed one. The feat can only be performed by big dogs of the highest courage, who all act together, rush in at top speed, and seize by the throat; for the strength of the quarry is such that otherwise he will shake off the dogs, and then speedily kill them by rapid snaps with his terribly armed jaws. Where possible, half a dozen dogs should be slipped at once, to minimize the risk of injury to the pack; unless this is done, and unless the Hunter helps the dogs in the worry, accidents will be frequent and an occasional wolf will be found able to beat off, maiming or killing, a lesser number of assailants. Some hunters prefer the smooth greyhound, because of its great speed, and others the wire-coated animal, the rough deer-hound, because of its superior strength; both, if of the right kind, are dauntless fighters.

Colonel Williams' greyhounds have performed many noble feats in wolf-hunting. He spent the winter of 1875 m tne Black Hills, which at that time did not contain a single settler and fairly swarmed with game. Wolves were especially numerous and very bold and fierce, so that the dogs of the party were continually in jeopardy of their lives. On the other hand they took an ample vengeance, for many wolves were caught by the pack. Whenever possible, the horsemen kept close enough to take an immediate hand in the fight, if the quarry was a full-grown wolf, and thus save the dogs from the terrible punishment they were otherwise certain to receive. The dogs invariably throttled, rushing straight at the throat, but the wounds they themselves received were generally in the flank or belly; in several instances these wounds resulted fatally. Once or twice a wolf was caught, and held by two greyhounds until the horsemen came up; but it took at least five dogs to overcome and slay unaided a big timber wolf. Several times the feat was performed by a party of five, consisting of two greyhounds, one rough-coated deer-hound, and two cross-bloods; and once by a litter of seven young greyhounds, not yet come to their full strength.

Once or twice the so-called Russian wolfhounds or silky coated greyhounds, the "borzois," have been imported and tried in wolfhunting on the Western plains; but hitherto they have not shown themselves equal, at either running or fighting, to the big American-bred greyhounds of the type produced by Colonel Williams and certain others of our best Western breeders. Indeed I have never known any foreign greyhounds, whether Scotch, English, or from Continental Europe, to perform such feats of courage, endurance, and strength, in chasing and killing dangerous game, as the home-bred greyhounds of Colonel Williams.

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